In December 2012, the head of the Humane Society of Southeast Arkansas asked the Monticello city council to implement an ordinance that would ban or regulate pit bulls in the city limits. At that time, the council instructed the city attorney to research such ordinances and prepare a draft for the city’s consideration. Upon completion of the draft, the council would discuss the issue further.
The city council members have no interest in banning any specific breed of dogs, but an ordinance that would regulate the ownership of certain breeds, primarily pit bull-type dogs, is being drafted.
There is a ray of hope, however. In researching breed specific ordinances, city staff have discovered there are many flaws associated with these types of laws – specifically with breed identification. Because of this, they are drafting two ordinances for the council’s consideration – one that would regulate pit bulls and one that is breed neutral. While the ultimate decision on which ordinance to enact is, of course, up to the council, its my opinion that those drafting the ordinances will strongly encourage the council to go with the breed-neutral ordinance.
In speaking with city staff, and as noted in a previous post on Monticello, I’ve learned that the city has a very real problem with irresponsible and negligent dog owners. Dogs being tethered by heavy logging chains that grow into their skin. Dogs being left with no food, no water and no shelter. Most of these dogs are “pit bulls.” Unfortunately, the humane society, who claims to know exactly where the problem owners are located, would rather have the council impose regulations on all pit bull owners in Monticello – the responsible, as well as those who are not – than work with these residents and educate them on responsible ownership practices.
I would strongly encourage members of area breed clubs, humane societies, animal rescue and welfare organizations to reach out to both the Monticello city council, as well as the Humane Society of Southeast Arkansas, and work with them on measures that would effectively solve the real problems in Monticello rather than punish all the responsible pit bull owners because of the actions of a few. It is naïve to think that by simply removing a specific breed from the community, without educating the irresponsible dog owners, that those very same dog owners won’t simply get another breed of dog, tether it with a logging chain, and leave it with no food, water or shelter. This is an opportunity to stop the cycle of irresponsible ownership and create positive change in Monticello for humans and dogs alike.
As is most often the case when a breed specific ordinance is proposed, Monticello doesn’t have a “pit bull” problem…they have an irresponsible and reckless dog owner problem. City staff realize this, and they are preparing two ordinances for the council’s consideration. There is a very good chance a positive difference can be made in Monticello. Please work with the city to educate dog owners and help alleviate the irresponsible dog ownership problem there.
Previous alert for Monticello: